Actress and producer Rita Wilson has decided to share the story of her breast cancer battle. The Sleepless in Seattle actress, and wife of Tom Hanks, revealed to PEOPLE that she has breast cancer and has undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
The 58-year-old took time out from her treatment to talk about her illness and how she is “blessed” to be surrounded by her husband and family, as well as supportive friends and health professionals. Wilson was acting in the play Fish in the Dark, when she took time out to deal with her diagnosis.
Rita told the magazine, “Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma. I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion.”
Wilson initially was told after two surgical breast biopsies that the pathology results showed no cancer. However, a friend who went through breast cancer suggested she get a second opinion. Wilson went ahead and found a different pathologist, saying “my gut told me that was the thing to do.” This choice possibly saved her life. The pathologist found cancer.
Wilson felt the need to speak publicly to tell women about the importance of getting a second opinion, “I share this to educate others that a second opinion is critical to your health. You have nothing to lose if both opinions match up for the good, and everything to gain if something that was missed is found, which does happen. Early diagnosis is key… I hope this will encourage others to get a second opinion and to trust their instincts if something doesn’t ‘feel’ right.”
Rita returns to the stage next month. When not acting she’s a successful producer and counts My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia! – she’s of greek heritage – among her box office hits. She has also recently starred in The Good Wife and Girls on the small screen and is a mother to two sons and stepmother to two children from Hanks’ previous marriage. We wish her a smooth recovery.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun
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